RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
South African Cricket Annual 2017
South African Cricket Annual 2017 Edited by Colin Bryden (Statistics by Andrew Samson)

Published by:
Cricket South Africa

P.O.Box 55009, Northlands 2116, South Africa

Price: South African Rands 200

South African Cricket Annual is the most respected cricket publication, now in its 64th year - the 23rd under the editorship of veteran cricket writer Colin Bryden, setting a record. Legendary Geoffrey Chettle had edited the first 22 editions of this prestigious Annual.

Pleasantly packaged and liberally illustrated, it is a veritable mine of information which whets the appetite for further exploration.

Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dane Van Niekerk have been named the five cricketers of the year.

Profiling Van Niekerk, Firdose Moonda remarked: "At the 2017 Women's World Cup, Van Niekerk became the only cricketer in the world to take four wickets without conceding a run in ODIs. Her 4-0 came in a rout of the West Indies, who South Africa dismissed for 48. She went on to claim two more four-wicket hauls, against India and Sri Lanka, to finish the group stage as the tournament's leading wicket-taker.

Van Niekerk led the team to the semi-finals for only the second time in South Africa's history and very nearly took them one step further. In a tense contest against England, South Africa came within three balls of a maiden final appearance. Afterwards, a tearful Van Niekerk said she 'could not be more proud of her team." The country feels exactly the same way about their captain."

In his editorial notes, Bryden commented: "The South African Test team enjoyed a highly successful 2016-17 season, which encompassed a third successive series win in Australia, a home series whitewash against Sri Lanka and an away win against New Zealand, with the latter confirming their reputation as being difficult to beat on their own turf. The one-day side seemed to be regaining the heights of the mid-to-late 1990s when they had successive 5-0 whitewash victories at home against Australia and Sri Lanka, then going on to win 3-2 in New Zealand."

According to Bryden, the inconsistency of the top-order batting was a major concern and the absence of AB de Villiers was sorely felt. It was a major shock when De Villiers announced in January that he would not be available for a Test series in New Zealand. A day later he revealed hat he would also miss the series in England as well as the home series against Bangladesh, although he said he had not retired from Test cricket and hoped to be able to regain his place for this summer's Tests against India and Australia.

The 688-page South African Cricket Annual, which features South African Cricketer of the Year Quinton de Kock on the cover, is edited by journalist and broadcaster Colin Bryden. It provides a full record of all representative cricket played under the auspices of Cricket South Africa, from international to Under-13 level, as well as feature articles on subjects including the transformation conundrum, thriving in the spotlight and South African Umpires stand tall.

Andrew Samson has done an outstanding job, deserving full credit for meticulously-compiled records' section, comprising South African Tests, ODIs, Twenty20 Internationals apart from first-class cricket. ICC Women's World Cup also features in this excellent Annual.

Twelve pages have been devoted to Obituaries' section and 29 pages to Who's who 2016-17.

Highly recommended Annual, competently edited by Colin Bryden, as in the past.